Raising the Crown

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 10 (v.1) - A New Truth.

Submitted: August 24, 2019

Reads: 56

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Submitted: August 24, 2019

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When I left the foyer room and entered the main hallway, I noticed that Xir Charles and my quarter guard were both there, as well as Luca and his guards. Xir Charles had quickly approached me with daggers in his eyes.

“If you have done anything to worsen His Majesty’s health-” he started, but Luca quickly interrupted.
“Hold your tongue!”
“With all due respect, Sire-” Xir Charles tried to say, but Luca interrupted him yet again, this time with a fire in his tone that I didn’t know he had.
“You will hold your tongue, Xir!”

Instantly Charles shut up, and since he saw how angry Luca was now, he did a complete formal kneel and bow of his head.

“Your Majesty.”

Damn. This kid was a force to be reckoned with! Take note, Palladino, on how not to piss off the future King of Xudia in his own palace.

“What is the king’s condition?” Luca asked as he softened his tone while he met my eyes.
“He’s in a lot of pain,” I replied. “We were in the middle of our walk in the gardens when he suddenly asked for my help to bring him back to his chambers.”
“He must be, if he asked you to bring him back here,” Luca replied quietly as he thought on my answer for a few moments while he looked at the floor, but then he looked up again and past me.

I heard the doctor approach from behind, and the guards at the chamber doors now closed off all access to the king.

“His Majesty has been given a dose of morphoxin for the pain,” said the doctor, but we could all tell he also held back some information.
“What is the latest prognosis?” Luca asked as he kept his eyes on the doctor.

Charles stood up again and we both also looked towards the doctor.

“Six weeks,” answered the doctor. “All we can do now is to assure His Majesty’s comfort by easing his pain and helping him to maintain his appetite, but he must continue to be reminded not to exert too much energy at once.”

Six weeks? That’s all the time I had left with him was six weeks? How was I going to . . . 

“Thank you for updating me on His Majesty’s condition,” Luca stated. The doctor bowed softly towards him and then walked away. “Xir Charles, you may return to your normal business.”

Xir Charles did the same as the doctor, and then he soon left me to my son, who then looked up at me in curiosity.

“Something is wrong,” he said. “I can see it in your eyes.”

I couldn’t let Luca know what I now knew, could I? I should at least talk to Gloria first.

“It’s just . . . disheartening to hear how little time His Majesty has left,” I answered carefully. “I really like him.”
“I can see that. I assume you have now seen the portrait?” Luca asked me in Italian.

I knew this was his way of keeping our conversation private, so that the guards couldn’t understand us, so I also kept the conversation in Italian.

“Yes, but what is your theory on why we look so nearly identical?” I asked.
“Do you really want to know?” Luca answered with a question. “Because it might change your perspective on a lot of things, and if you’re not comfortable with that-.”
“I really want to know, Luca,” I told him. “I need the truth.”

I wanted to know if he already figured it out or not that the king was in fact his paternal biological grandfather.

“In my opinion, there’s only one reason why you look so much like him, and it’s a biological one. I just can’t connect the facts yet, because all I know about your parents is that they’re from the city of Trieste in Italy, and the missing variable is the connection between your parents and the king.”
“Well . . . His Majesty has confirmed the connection to me,” I answered.
“So the king has confirmed he is biologically related to you?”
“I’m pretty sure he has, but I couldn’t understand what he said in Xudian.”

“What did he say in Xudian? Do you remember the words?” Luca asked as he kept his eyes on mine.
“My best pronunciation of it is, ‘Tee em may you abbio.’ Please forgive me if I said it wrong,” I answered in an apologetic tone.
“You have nothing to be sorry about. You said it right,” Luca replied. “When His Majesty said that, he was telling you that you are his son.” I knew it. “Which means that by right, you are next in line for the throne.”

Wait, what? Did I just hear that right? He has to be messing with me . . .

“I thought that in order for one to inherit the crown, they would have to be born in this palace?” I asked.
“That remains true under the current law, but His Majesty could not produce an heir with our queen, which is why we all thought I was next in line, but really His Majesty does have an heir. There is a loophole in the law, and you are the loophole. Besides, our government is not a constitutional monarchy, like what you see in the United Kingdom. We have an absolute monarchy here, which means the king has total control over the government. He could legitimize you, change the law, and transmit his power over to you, and no government official in the High Counsel could do anything to change that, because transmission of absolute monarch power is hereditary.”

Holy shit. Should I pinch myself? I must be dreaming. Seriously. This can’t be real, or true, can it?

“I would not be surprised, however, if the entire High Counsel would demand for the king to create a parliament to keep your reign in check, should the king legitimize you and hand his power over to you.” What? “But, Abbo, you and I must stand our ground on changing our people’s perception of Italians. We cannot do that if we establish a parliament, because it is likely they will not allow the perception to change. Do you agree?”

What would this do to my career in music and acting? I know in America, if one goes into politics, they have to leave the entertainment industry altogether. Is that how it was here? Probably. Shit.

“I agree; we need to change people’s hatred into love and acceptance of one another. How we are going to go about this, though, I don’t know yet. I’m not sure if that will be me or not. I wouldn’t count on me being king of your country.”
“You mean our country?” Luca asked in a corrective tone. “You are Xudian too, you know.”

He was right. I was no longer 100% Italian, like I thought I was all my life. Now at thirty-three years old, I found out I was half Italian, and half Xudian. I don’t have a problem with the change in my heritage, but I do have a problem with the fact that this fact was hidden from me, as I had a right to know where I came from and who my biological father was. When I return stateside, I will be having a talk with my parents, because I needed a sincere apology from them for keeping me from the truth.

“You’re right. I’m sorry,” I apologized.
“You don’t need to apologize, Abbo,” Luca replied. “You only just found out. I know it will take some time for it to truly register. In the meantime, I think it would benefit you and our people for them to finally meet you, and see you for who you are. Shall we start with Rheya now?”

What did he mean by benefiting me and the people of Xudia in regards to them meeting me? How did that connect with meeting Rheya?

“I’m not sure I follow, but you already know I would love to meet Rheya.”
“Rjion,” Luca called as he turned to his guards who stood about five feet away from us, and then he spoke to them in Xudian.

One of the guards bowed to him, and walked away.

“So, Abbo, while Rjion is getting our carriage ready, I would like you to meet Marko,” he said in English as he gestured towards the guard that remained with us. Was this the one that Mr. Juric mentioned on the plane when we talked about cave diving? “Some guards come and go, but Marko is like a father to me, and has been assigned to my detail since I was born here in this palace. I will admit that while I do sneak away from him on occasion, which is only when I feel like the world is closing in on me and I need space to breathe and think, I want you to know that I trust Marko with my life . . . completely. There were times when my stepfather tried to get close to me at night during our family visits here in Xudia, but . . . Marko has been my protector, so much so that at night, a guard replaces him at the doors, and Marko remains in my quarters with me as my defender and shield.”

Ah! It was a comfort to know that Luca had a personal guard that he trusted with his life. This reminded me of Jose, and how much I trusted him with my own life, and that he knew me better than most.

“It is an honor to meet you, Sire,” Marko said in English as he bowed towards me.
“You don’t need to bow to me, but the honor is all mine,” I replied as I reached my hand for a shake.

Marko stood up, but looked confused when I extended my right hand for a shake, and he turned to Luca for approval. Luca nodded, and then Marko took my hand, and met my gaze. In turn, I placed my left hand on top of his.

“Thank you, Marko, for always working to protect my son within these borders of Xudia. Your commitment to your job, and your loyalty to the crown, is much appreciated.”

Marko smiled and bowed softly with his head.

“It is a pleasure and an honor to be recognized, Sire.”

Why does he keep calling me that? That was the second time in less than a minute he’s done it. I looked to Luca in confusion and then he spoke up.

“Marko is the only guard in the Royal Xudian Army that knows and is fluent in Italian, so he has heard our entire conversation about your true lineage and connection to the king. In addition to their native tongue of Xudian, the soldiers that join the RXA are required only to be fluent in English, German, and Slovenian upon completion of their military entrance exams. They can also become fluent in French and Spanish, should they choose to undergo additional education at their own expense while off duty, but most do not know Italian for obvious reasons. However, I have commanded Marko long ago to become fluent in the language with me, to ensure my safety with secured communications, and so I can have someone to talk to when I wanted to practice Italian or whatever. He is also aware of the fact that when I speak in Italian, he must not repeat anything in any other language to anyone else, so you can trust him to keep our conversations private, unless I mention it otherwise while in front of others.”

Good to know.

“Luca!”

All of us were drawn towards Camila’s mother calling out to Luca as she walked down the hall with her own security detail. Once she approached us with a serious expression on her face, Luca spoke up.

“Is something wrong?” he asked her.
“Detective Landon has sent us an email update on the whereabouts of Timothy Crane, whose real name is Adam Rochford. He has been spotted in Moscow, various locations in the Ukraine, and hopped a flight from the Ukraine to Croatia with the alias of Allen Markowitz, but America doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Croatia,” Mrs. Juric answered.
“Ah, but we do!” Luca answered, but then he froze for a moment, and thought about what his grandmother said before he looked back up at her again. “He’s coming for me.”

“Which is why your grandfather is setting up an emergency meeting with the High Counsel. Croatia has flagged all of Adam’s fake names, as well as his many other aliases, so if he tries to leave the country using any one of his formerly known identities, they will detain him and start the extradition paperwork as they notify us.” Just as Mrs. Juric finished her statement, her eyebrows furrowed in concern. “Where’s Rjion?”

“I’ve sent him to prepare our coach. Abbo and I have just made plans to meet with Rheya.”
“Ah, Rheya would love to see you, I’m sure. You should go, but Marko,” Mrs. Juric replied as she now met Marko’s eyes. “I want two extra guards with you. Until my daughter’s murderer has been caught and imprisoned, I want you, Rjion, and two other guards with you at all times. I also want you to assign two extra guards to this fine gentleman as well.”

“I hope, Your Highness, that I am not being too forward when I say that I strongly believe we need to have equal measure of security for His Majesty’s father as well. Based on the criminal’s history, the man will try to go after . . .” Marko’s eyes met with mine and, with the information he just learned about me during my private conversation with Luca in Italian, I could tell he didn’t know what to call me right now.

“Uh, that would be Mr. Palladino,” I added with a soft bow of my head for courtesy.
“Yes, Mr. Palladino,” Marko continued as he met Mrs. Juric’s gaze again.
“Hmmm, you may be right. Very well then. Four security guards at all times as well for Mr. Palladino. If you will excuse me, I must inform the king of the urgent news.”

Both Marko and I bowed towards Mrs. Juric, but then she looked to me, and smiled warmly.

“I may carry the title of ‘Princess,’ but you don’t ever need to bow to me, Mr. Palladino. I hope you fellas have a wonderful time with Rheya,” Mrs. Juric stated as she now met Luca’s gaze. “Do tell her ‘hello’ for me.”
“Of course, Nana,” Luca replied as he respectfully bowed his head in acknowledgment, and with that, Mrs. Juric left us and headed towards the king’s royal chambers.

I wondered if she also knew of my true lineage. I watched as the guards at the king’s chamber doors allowed her in, and then they closed the doors behind her. She must have known, and I suddenly felt totally stupid, for I felt like I was the last to know about my truth, yet I should have been told first by my own parents. Not only that, but how should one handle a new truth about their identity when it involves a royal lineage with the potential for being next in line to become a king? Seriously, I had absolutely no idea how to deal with my new truth, or how in the world I could even accept it.


© Copyright 2019 Jenah Pierce. All rights reserved.

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